Tuesday

25th Sep 2018

English at risk as official EU language

  • Huebner: EU rules need to be changed for English to become an EU official once the UK leaves (Photo: epp group)

A senior MEP has said English would be dropped as an EU official language once the UK leaves the bloc, unless rules are changed.

"If we don't have the UK, we don't have English," Polish centre-right MEP Danuta Huebner told reporters in Brussels on Monday (27 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Huebner chairs the European Parliament's committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO). The committee oversees the parliament's role on the UK's exit from the European Union.

Speaking in English, Huebner said EU rules allow member state to notify only one official language each, not two or more.

English is spoken in Malta and Ireland. But Malta notified Maltese as an official EU language and Ireland notified Gaelic as its official language. Only the UK had requested English.

Huebner said the rules are outlined in article 342 of the Treaty, which is based on a regulation that dates back to 1958.

But the rules cited by Huebner are not entirely explicit.

Article eight of the 1958 regulation notes that "if a member state has more than one official language, the language to be used shall, at the request of such state, be governed by the general rules of its law."

Some lawyers may have a different interpretation.

But Huebner said it meant that Malta or Ireland cannot also request English as an official language without first making a change to the EU rulebook.

She said any change would require a unanimous decision in the EU Council.

Huebner said she was confident all remaining EU states would endorse the rule change to accommodate English, which is also the main working language among the EU institutions.

"I personally believe that we will find unanimity to change the rule on this ... and then we will have from the Irish not only Gaelic but also English or from the Maltese not only Maltese but also English," she said.

EU will not press UK for immediate exit talks

EU leaders say there is a "very significant crisis" in the UK. At a summit on Tuesday, they will not press the British prime minister to trigger the procedure to leave the EU.

News in Brief

  1. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group
  2. Half of EU states at risk of missing recycling target
  3. Commission refers Poland to EU top court over rule of law
  4. Open Society Foundation takes Hungary to court
  5. EU court asked to rule on halting Brexit
  6. EU threatens Switzerland on stock trading
  7. Italy's new basic wage restricted to Italians
  8. UK tycoon offers to create pro-Brexit party

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

'Every group split' ahead of EU copyright vote

Political groups in the European Parliament are split about how to vote for a directive that would reform the EU's copyright regime - amid warnings that freedom of expression and creators' rights are at risk.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  2. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  3. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  4. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  5. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  6. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  7. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  8. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us